Thirty K-12 educators from around the country participated in the second annual GenCyber summer camp, held July 31 to August 4 at Eaton Hall. The goal of the camp, which is funded through a grant from the National Security Agency, is to teach the fundamental concepts and key aspects of cyber security, with a special emphasis on the first principles of security. The teachers also were introduced to ways to improve teaching methods for delivering cyber security content in K-12 computer science curricula. The weeklong camp is directed and taught by Bo Luo, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science, Fengjun Li, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science and Chris Seasholtz, assistant professor of practice in electrical engineering and computer science, with assistance from EECS and IT students from the KU Information Security Club, better known as the Jayhackers. Topics included introduction to information security and cryptography, data security and privacy, OS and network hardening and curriculum development and cyber security education in K-12. Along with hands-on workshops and many collaborative opportunities, the teachers spent time sharing insights from their own experiences within their schools. The weeklong camp concluded with a cyber security competition to test the participant’s knowledge. Along with learning and sharing their cyber security and high school CyberPatriot Club experience, several of the teachers who had never been to Kansas enjoyed visiting Kauffman Stadium to see a Kansas City Royals baseball game and to sample Kansas City style barbecue. Camp Participant April Boyd-Noronha shared her perspective on the event for at StartlandNews.com:
Many of these teachers oversee CyberPatriot teams in their schools and some attendees aspire to start a team. CyberPatriot is a Youth Cyber Education Program created by the Air Force Association to inspire K-12 students toward careers in cyber security or other science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. The CyberPatriot program, started in 2009, has grown from a few students competing in the initial competition to more than 4,400 middle school and high school teams in 2017.
The GenCyber Program is funded by the National Security Agency and National Science Foundation. It provides grants for cyber security camps targeting students and teachers at the K-12 level. The goals of the program are to help students understand correct and safe online behavior, increase diversity and interest in cyber security, create opportunities for careers in the cyber security and improve teaching methods for delivering cyber security content for K-12 programs.
As the demand for cyber security professionals continues to increase, the KU EECS department is adding faculty in that area and doubling the number of core cyber security classes. In January of 2016, KU was awarded a $4.7 million, five-year grant that is part of the NSA’s effort to encourage students to pursue a cyber security career within the government. The grant supports CyberCorps: Scholarship for Service at the University of Kansas and offers students up to two years of tuition and a generous stipend to finish their undergraduate or graduate degree, or three years of support for Ph.D. students. For more information about CyberCorps: Scholarship for Service check out sfs.ku.edu.